It was an amazing final week for Wildlife Officer Placement Laura with loads of whales and dolphins joining her for a final deck watch!
Hello everybody! Unfortunately, this will be my last blog but what an amazing final week I’ve had!
The week started perfectly with common dolphins on Wednesday in the Channel, and then several whale blows on the horizon, two fin whales very close to the ship, pilot whales and a big pod of striped dolphins on Thursday morning in the Bay! However, the coastal waters have been otherwise fairly quiet, but I was determined to see more so on Monday evening whilst the sun was setting we went out on deck and spotted common dolphins. Dolphins jumping in the sunset; what a beautiful sight! On Tuesday afternoon Louise and I decided to go out on deck from 12pm-6pm as it was my last deck watch, Louise threw me the best leaving party ever and invited loads of whales and dolphins to join us! We had over 20 whale blows, over 50 dolphins (common and striped), several pilot whales and a Cuvier’s beaked whale. But the main entertainment of the afternoon was a Cuvier’s beaked whale breaching about 9 times - the most epic thing that’s happened throughout my time on board, for sure!
The passengers on board this week have been so lovely. We’ve had many children’s activities during the week and it’s so amazing when you are able to show a child their first dolphin or whale in the wild. as I'm sure you all know it is a memory that will last a lifetime! One activity on board this week was measuring out the blue whale - it’s always lovely to see their faces once they realised it is the same length as the play area on deck 10! The children also drew their favourite sea creature on a big piece of paper and wrote about why they love whales and dolphins which is fun to see what they come up with! Working with children and presenting to them did come quiet naturally to me as I have a younger niece and nephew so I knew what kind of activities they would prefer and how keep them interested in whales and dolphins all throughout our presentation.
Personally I think that no matter what the age of the passengers are on board, there is always something they take away hopefully from just simply talking to us on board or learning a fun fact about whales and dolphins, which is why it’s been a pleasure to be a part of ORCA.
This whole experience of being a Wildlife Officer on board the Cap Finistère has been so rewarding in so many different aspects; I’ve met incredible passengers and got the opportunity to work with two amazing people, Louise and Emma, who have guided me and taught me everything I needed to know. From how to survey and identify marine mammals to givng me the confidence to be able to present and inspire passengers on board which will benefit me now for the rest of my life. Honestly if you have a passion for marine mammals, want to see them in the wild and want to make a difference to people lives this placement is something I highly recommend you do and I’d just like to thank ORCA and the team for taking me on as a placement and having me on board!
I can’t wait to get analysing all the data that I have collected over my time on board and comparing the data to previous years. I hope the next placement on board has a great time and has lots of amazing sightings just as I did!
ORCA Wildlife Officer Placement – Bay of Biscay